ROCKPORT, N.B. – A group of friends who were heading out to Rockport for a bonfire Sunday night ended up having a Canada day they likely won’t soon forget.
Six Sackville residents, who had loaded up in a pick-up truck and a CR-V and were on their way to meet some of their other friends for a bonfire around 10:30 p.m., became unwitting rescuers of an elderly couple from Quebec who had been reported missing just that morning.
Kaitlyn Barkley, Chad Steeves and Chris Wilson were in the truck and were the first to spot the elderly man on the side of the road, waving his hands, just as they were nearing Slack’s Cove.
“We stopped and he collapsed in relief that someone had stopped,” said 18-year-old Barkley.
Barkley said they had a difficult time understanding much of what the man was saying because he was exhausted and spoke mostly in French. Steeves sat him on the tailgate of the truck while Barkley called 911.
RCMP arrived about 25 minutes later and Barkley said the officer could finally start to pick out bits and pieces of what he was saying.
“He told her something about his wife and van being stuck up the road,” she said.
So the three friends then headed out to find the van. About five or six kilometres up the road, they found the vehicle stuck in a mud hole, the elderly woman inside, safe but scared.
“Chad approached the woman and she put her head down and started to cry,” said Barkley.
Barkley said she was able to get the woman out of the vehicle and in the truck so Wilson and Steeves could work on getting the van out of the mud hole.
Steeves then drove the van out to the police and paramedics, while Wilson and Barkley followed in the truck with the woman.
According to the Montreal Gazette, the couple, 81-year-old Laurier Dupuis and 83-year-old Irene Bolduc, had been reported missing by family members Sunday morning after they failed to return home the night before after attending a family reception in Shannon, near Quebec City. When found in Rockport, the couple was almost 850 kilometres from their home, which is in St-Gédéon-de-Beauce, a region south of Quebec City. The Surete du Quebec (SQ), the provincial police force for Quebec, could not explain why the couple had wandered so far off course while driving home, other than to say they must have gotten lost.
Barkley said the couple did certainly appear to be confused as to their whereabouts, adding “they actually had no idea they were even in New Brunswick.”
“It was quite an experience, a confusing one at that,” said Barkley. “I didn’t really wrap my head around the whole thing until it was done.”
Twenty-three-year-old Steeves agreed, saying “it was a very interesting night.”
“Definitely a Canada Day I won’t soon forget!!” added Wilson, 28.